I have struggled with weight all of my life. But I am a female, and I grew up in the 1990s, and played a lot of sports. Who did you picture in your head? A big girl, who you thought, probably played goalie on her team sports. Or, you thought a girl with anorexia, bulimia or a similar eating disorder. Essentially, I said “I struggled with weight and played a lot of sports” and you put me in one of two categories: BIG or SMALL. Body dysmorphia or emotional eater. But I am neither of these things. I am the median, the average, the normal girl walking down the sidewalk. Before you shout your outrage at me that “I haven’t struggled” or “I don’t know what it’s like”, let me explain.
I have spent months meticulously counting calories, only to have gained weight. I have spent months eating whenever and whatever I liked and lost weight. I have not exercised because I swore I looked thinner; I have run 80+ miles a week because I swore that slimmed me down. I have not figured out the right equation for me that equals a perfect body. Has anyone?
But something struck me recently, in my quest for this “perfect body.” Everyone I spoke to about working out would answer my quips with “ugh if only I liked it like you do!” or “if only I had time” or “if only xxx” and fill it in with the statement that is applicable to you.
So many people I know, sit around complaining about their looks, their weight, their this and their that, yet they make excuses at every turn about why they can’t fix what’s broken. Recently, I tried to convince a friend to just try exercising. Anything. Find what makes you happy, what passes the time, what gets your 20 minutes in and gets you out of the gym. Seriously. 20 minutes.
I am training for a half marathon now and a full marathon later this year. I love running. But I don’t love it every day and it has taken me years (and I am far from done) to figure out what makes me tick. A good trail. Fun clothing. New music. Breaking up the monotony. Telling myself that running over 9 minute miles is not breaking the international running code for former cross country runners/athletes. Being okay with running less then 2 miles. Feeling ACCOMPLISHED when running less then 2 miles.
See, for me, it was all about HEALTHY and HAPPY this time around because I was over hating my body and hating what it couldn’t do for me. I wanted to wake up and love what I’ve got. I don’t (it’s obviously a work in progress), but I’m getting there. And my message is that you should too.
Find a machine or a class or a walking trail or a dog. Get yourself out there or get yourself moving. No one ever felt worse after exercising (long distance runners don’t take that statement TOO seriously, we push ourselves too hard), in fact, emotionally you always feel better. And knowing you accomplished something great and something new? That rocks too. New confidence! Onwards and upwards and let’s focus on being healthy instead of being skinny.